More than 300 000 domestic workers are not registered for unemployment insurance, according to a GroundUp report. Employees who work 24 hours or more per month and are legally entitled to unemployment insurance, number just over one million.

About 680 000 were registered with UIF as of 31 March. This means one third of domestic workers who are entitled to unemployment insurance, and who may be entitled to maternity benefits, are not registered.

Employers often 'just give up' once the online system fails, said Myrtle Witbooi, general secretary of the SA Domestic Services and Allied Workers Union. She said many employers have cited problems with the system as the reason they have not registered their domestic workers.

But UIF communications director Makhosonke Buthelezi said since the launch of the system in 2013, 'clients have had no problems registering on it'.

He said 696 new employers were registered in April and 972 in May.

'Employers are reluctant to register domestic workers due to general aversion to compliance with the law,' said Buthelezi.

Employers who fail to register with the UIF or pay toward the fund can be fined or imprisoned.

Witbooi said the Department of Labour needed to increase oversight over employers of domestic workers to ensure that they are complying with the requirements.

The union has been trying to convince the Minister of Labour to organise an imbizo with domestic workers to inform them of their rights.

Full GroundUp report